When you are trying to get into shape, it can be easy to just focus on your work outs. After all, when working out is going well it feels great! It can be fun to see improvements in your strength and endurance. But, if all you do is focus on exercise, you are missing a big piece of the puzzle. The truth is that most experts agree that what you eat counts for up to 80% of your total physique. The remaining 20% is half exercise and half genetics. This means that if you do not take the time to focus on your diet, you are really sabotaging your efforts.

It is not enough just to eat low-fat foods or count your calories if you want to be in the best shape of your life. You need foods that will not only help you to slim down, but also to fuel up for exercise and recover. Cutting out a type of food is not a good idea, because your body needs healthy carbohydrates, fats and sufficient protein. You probably know that you need sufficient protein for muscle growth, but cellular repair also relies on carbohydrates.

What you need is a clean diet, filled with whole foods. The good news is that eating clean does not have to mean that you sacrifice taste! There are many foods that can help to fuel your workouts that also taste great.

As an example, quinoa is a great food for people trying to get into shape. It is a "complete" protein, and contains all of the muscle-repairing amino acids that you need to be able to hit it hard today, and know you won't be unable to move tomorrow. Simply trying quinoa recipes rather than reaching for pasta is a great way to improve your diet.

If you long for chips and dip, you probably know that most do not have a place in a healthy diet. That does not have to mean that you need to give up dips, you just need to find a healthy way to enjoy them. I love to make different hummus recipes that can be enjoyed with fresh carrots and celery. For an extra treat I will make my own "chips" at home using whole grain tortillas and a little olive oil spray. Bake them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes and you have a healthy alternative to chips.